Angela “Big Ang” Raiola will forever be in the hearts of her loved ones as they laid her to rest in a very touching memorial service. Janine Detore was more than Big Ang’s sister–she was her best friend. Janine noted they spoke to each other daily, sometimes up to 20 times per day, according to Us Weekly. Detore said that since she passed away, the hardest part so far has been the silence of not hearing from her.
Janine stated, ” I just wished I could talk to her–if just for one more time.”
To Big Ang, her family was everything. She seemed to live for her family and wanted nothing more than to know they are happy and healthy–and not worried about her. When Raiola found out she had stage IV lung and brain cancer, she told Dr. Oz her first thought was her children–she wasn’t ready to tell them goodbye. Angela said she needed to know that they would be okay without her if her cancer takes her from this world.
Janine, Big Ang’s sister, explains that when she died she was at peace with her death. Janine explained that she knew it was time for her to go; however, Detore didn’t want her to go. Her family struggled to accept the reality star fate; however, Angela tried her best to show them it would be okay. In the end, her family accepted it and realized her death meant no more pain for her.
Before her death, Raiola wanted all her siblings (six in total) to be there to see her before she passed away. Janine worked hard to get their siblings to her bedside. Around midnight, just three hours before she died, her brother arrived–Detore noted his presence brought Angela peace. Also at her bedside, her two children and estranged husband, Neil Murphy.
Big Ang didn’t like fighting around her–as her fans witnessed on Mob Wives. If her cast members were fighting, she would try to find peace between them, to cease the drama. Detore explained that Angela loved to do things for others, and was incredibly generous. Big Ang worked extremely hard for everything she had–often working multiple jobs to provide for herself and family. With tears building in her eyes, Janine said that she isn’t sure what life will be like without her. Wiping the tears away, Detore said, ” Mob Wives didn’t make Big Ang a star–she made the show a smash hit.”
Drita D’Avanzo and Big Ang’s friendship played out on the VH1 reality TV show, Mob Wives. Drita and Big Ang had a loyalty to each other, that many cast members didn’t fully understand. Big Ang had Drita’s back, and D’Avanzo was extremely loyal to Raiola. Since Angela’s death, Drita reportedly was distraught over the loss–worrying her close friends and family members, according to People. One thing is certain–Drita will forever miss her good friend, Big Ang.
Drita and Big Ang appeared on The Real talk show last year. While on the show, they talked about the first time they met. Apparently years ago, Drita would hustle pool in her bar. After a game one night, Drita got into a scuffle and knocked a girl out. Big Ang was the owner of the bar and told someone to lock the door so Drita wouldn’t get in trouble. Drita said that’s when she knew Raiola would be her friend for life.
Drita said, ” If Big Ang gave you her word, you can be sure she would keep it. Loyalty was something she understood and lived by.”
Big Ang lost her battle with cancer on February 18 at the age of 55-years-old. Angela Raiola will never be forgotten in the hearts of her family, friends, and fans. RIP Big Ang–you were loved.
[hoto by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for VH1]